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Over the course of my 15-year editorial career, I have met with a lot of companies that have gone through reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions, strategy shifts and a host of other changes.

Buzz words such as “focus on core competencies,” “getting back to business” and “increase our value proposition” have constantly been thrown around to explain a certain initiative.

But my experience has taught me that once a company starts with the marketing jumble, it is usually backtracking and trying to remain relevant. What I like to see is when a company admits what it does best and partners with other companies for what it lacks. Some call it “leveraging expertise” or “plugging in the holes.” I simply call it smart.

Which is why when I interviewed executives at both Computer Associates and Satyam Computer Services about their recent consulting agreement focusing on BPM (business process management) solutions, I was both relieved and impressed.

Out front, CA admitted what its capabilities are and what they are not. CA is a technology company and Satyam is a global services company. CA is looking to leverage and further service its CleverPath Aion customers by partnering with Satyam, which will deliver post-sales implementation services around BPM and will work closely with CA Technology Services to develop and deliver a Business Process Value Assessment service.

What I like about this deal is that CA is not looking to become a BPM solutions provider itself. Rather, it is partnering with a leading global consultancy with deep expertise in this area. CA realizes its reach only goes so far, and that the BPM selling cycle is a complex one that is better served by a vendor-neutral channel company that has the necessary skill sets in business process evaluation, selling and implementation.

Click here to learn about business process outsourcing.

Selling BPM products and solutions is not like simply upgrading to the next version of Wintel (although that usually proves to be more complicated than it should be). It takes an intimate understanding of an organization’s internal business processes, its workflow and even its vertical market positioning to fully optimize the solution.

“With the introduction of this type of technology, you need to be familiar with the processes of different verticals and understand those processes. Our technology-services organization focuses on the products themselves, but not so much on understanding the depth of the processes that we would need to,” said Allen Houpt, director of product management at CA. “So, we decided to engage with a large systems integrator that has both vertical domain experience, but also has specific BPM domain experience.”

This could be an enormous opportunity, not just for CA to get its technology more entrenched and for Satyam to further expand its BPM expertise, but also for the vendor’s current VAR base.

“The services component in the BPM space is much a greater opportunity than the product component. And our customers are looking at companies that can provide complete business process management services, end-to-end,” Houpt said.

And while Satyam has matured in the BPM space, according to Vinaykumar Mummigatti of Satyam, it will look to leverage the expertise of CA’s other channel partners to bring other technology skill sets to the equation. “This group is focused on consulting IT-led process reengineering. BPM is going to be a consulting-led assignment,” he said.

While Satyam is currently a preferred partner within CA’s Service Partner Program, the deal is not exclusive. Although CA said it is not looking for another major partner in this space right now, the door is open, just as Satyam can represent other BPM solutions and vendors.

In my view, the agreement between CA and Satyam is a healthy one in today’s complex IT environment. It clearly represents and leverages the expertise of both organizations and leaves the door open for more to join in.

Elliot Markowitz is editor at large at The Channel Insider. He is also editorial director of Ziff Davis Media eSeminars. He can be reached at